Effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment during pregnancy on the health and development of the child
Full article: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1508913
Very little work has studied how a woman's cancer diagnosis and treatment during pregnancy affects her child. This study of women who were diagnosed with cancer while pregnant looks at their children at ages 18 months and 3 years. The study found no difference in general, cognitive, and cardiac development when compared to children born to healthy mothers. (12/08/2015)
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) provides guidelines for fertility in people diagnosed with cancer.
The NCCN recommends doctors discuss the following with adolescents and adults with cancer before treatment begins:
- fertility plans and preferences
- fertility preservation options, including:
- whether therapy can be delayed long enough for a cycle of egg stimulation
- medications like GnRH agonist therapy during adjuvant chemotherapy to preserve ovarian function in premenopausal women with breast cancer
- importance of follow-up with a gynecologist or fertility specialist to monitor ovarian function over time
- risks for infertility due to cancer and related treatment
- affects of treatment on breastfeeding
- the importance of avoiding pregnancy and options for safe and effective birth control while in treatment
- safe timing for considering pregnancy after treatment
- emotional impact of discussions about fertility preservation
- financial resources for fertility preservation
- effects of treatment on sexual function during and after treatment
Doctors should refer patients as indicated for the following services:
- All patients who are interested in preserving their fertility should be referred to a fertility preservation clinic before starting treatment.
- Patients who need assistance with complex medical decision-making should be referred to a mental health professional.
- Patients who are experiencing sexual disfunction should be referred to a sexual health specialist.
Questions To Ask Your Health Care Provider
- Is my cancer diagnosis going to affect my baby?
- Are there treatments I should consider while pregnant?
- Should I delay treatment until after I have the baby?
- Are there precautions I can take if I have to receive treatment during my pregnancy?
- Are there signs I should look for that would indicate my child was affected by my cancer diagnosis during pregnancy?
Open Clinical Trials
The following research studies related to fertility preservation are enrolling patients.
Fertility preservation studies for women
Fertility preservation for men
- NCT02972801: Testicular Tissue Cryopreservation for Fertility Preservation. Testicular tissue cryopreservation is an experimental procedure where testicular tissue is retrieved and frozen. This technique is reserved for young male patients, with the ultimate goal that their tissue may be used in the future to restore fertility when experimental techniques emerge from the research pipeline.
FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.